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Dear Colleagues,

“…and then they lived happily ever after?” Restrictions due to the pandemic are being eased throughout Europe. Falling incidences coupled with the onset of summer give hope for an end to the pandemic, although there are fears of rising infection rates despite major progress with vaccination and many countries around the world remain heavily affected. The COVID-19 crisis is not over yet, even though many schools have re-opened and major sporting events are being staged with spectators once again.

It is safe to say that the years 2020/21 will be remembered as a turning point with a global impact. A look at the last decades shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of many, very different crises, yet surely not the last. It heralds transformation. On the one hand, restrictions on every aspect of life create the desire to return to what existed before, a “back to business as usual” in other words. On the other hand, the recent months have served to highlight not only new but also existing problems – problems that will persist beyond the crisis and which could be addressed now. At this bifurcation point, citizenship education has a crucial role to play.

Citizenship education must see itself as an ally and enabler of transformation in order to make our societies more just, more sustainable and more democratic. However, it should not be conceived as a mere reaction to local and global problems. What would it mean to consider citizenship education a top political priority, not only in order to better deal with a risky world, but fundamentally because the citizenship education a society delivers to itself is an image of the world and society it wants to create (Reference to NECE Declaration 2020)?

We look forward to discussing questions about the future of democracy, society and education with you at the upcoming NECE conference in Brussels on October 28-29, 2021. Together, in a hybrid event format, we will once again create a space for the burning concerns and issues of CE and bring the community together, from Europe and beyond. Detailed information about the conference will follow soon on www.nece.eu. We look forward to seeing you!

Best wishes and stay well!

Petra Grüne & Fatih Demircan (Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb)

Anja Ostermann plus the NECE Team of labconcepts (Bonn/Berlin)

  NEWS about NECE  

NECE CAMPUS 2021: The pandemic is ongoing – we are still connected
In order to maintain the range of networking opportunities in citizenship education and to promote the exchange between educators, experts and civil society also between the annual NECE conferences, NECE will continue the series of events at the NECE CAMPUS in preparation for the 2021 NECE Conference. The NECE CAMPUS 2021 runs from May till October. On the NECE CAMPUS 2021, visions, values and practices for an educational and civic engagement in a world in transformation will be presented and discussed. Stay tuned for more information!

With the COVID-19 pandemic, existing and new political, economic and social problems become visible at the same time. Social inequality, polarisation of societies and power imbalances are gaining ground at the regional, national and international level. The gap between rich and poor has widened, populist and anti-science movements have grown and human-induced climate change continues to advance, as has been repeatedly documented. The crisis also offers the opportunity to learn and to identify needs for change – but are we really moving towards sustainable change? What does it mean for the future of citizenship education if we not only react to the current situation but set an agenda for the future to come? Let's come together and create the future of citizenship education! Read more about the NECE CAMPUS and upcoming events!

SAVE THE DATE: NECE Conference 2021
Following this year's CAMPUS, the NECE Conference will take place in Brussels on 28-29 October 2021! STAY TUNED – for further information visit nece.eu.

Call for Projects: “Democracy: Now! Young Voices for the Future.”
Against the backdrop of the upcoming elections, the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb and the Franco-German Youth Office have agreed on a three-year cross-border funding programme to strengthen democracy and support European civic education projects by and for young people. Up to 20,000 € can be awarded to Franco-German and trilateral citizen education projects for young people between the ages of 14 and 30. Associations, organizations, educational institutions and schools can apply. Possible formats range from youth exchanges, seminars and youth parliaments to concerts, sports projects and art actions. The following topic areas have been selected:

  • Every vote counts! Projects and meetings on the themes of democracy, human rights and elections.
  • Speak up! Projects and meetings to promote engagement and involvement in a context marked by climate change and inequalities and hope for sustainable development.
  • Digital democracy! Projects and meetings on the themes of freedom of expression and conspiracy theories in a digital environment.
More information and application here.

Den DemokratieLabo by Zentrum fir politesch Bildung
Den DemokratieLabo is a multilingual interactive exhibition designed by the ZpB. Like a real laboratory, it is a space for experimentation, discovery and analysis. The object of observation is democracy. Visitors reflect on their ideas about democracy, their convictions and experiences. The exhibition invites an exchange of views on the diversity of Luxembourg society and the workings of the political system.

After its premiere at the Centre Culturel de rencontre Abbaye Neumünster, the Demokratielabo was at the Forum Geesseknäppchen until 11 June 2021 where it primarily addressed school classes. It is now open to the general public in Differdange (Aalt Stadhaus, 15 June-28 July 2021), before moving on to Echternach (Trifolion, 30 July - 26 August) and Vianden (Castle, 28 August—16 September).

Visit www.demokratielabo.lu for more information.

Civic Europe short update
Here at Civic Europe, the Idea Challenge is preparing to announce the Community Award winner. The shortlisted candidates will be published in early July 2021 – stay tuned for more! Meanwhile, the participants in our Capacity Building programs in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania are currently designing and implementing their local community initiatives. If you are curious to learn more about some of their community initiatives, check out this article about two participants in the Capacity Building programme in Bulgaria – Katya and Fikrie. Both are teachers who live in the Bulgarian provinces and advocate democratic participation – despite all fear of judgment by others. While Katya Brankova is raising awareness about the potential of natural water sources in Razlog, Fikrie Bozova is encouraging single mothers in and around Momchilgrad to get help.

Read their stories in English here, and the original article in German for the digital magazine “AufRuhr” here.

The power of cooperation and co-creation
“When beginning our capacity building program, we simply started by sharing stories and heading out into our “neighborhoods” as if we were not online at all…”. In this article, the Civic Europe team reflects on their experiences working with partners as part of Civic Europe Capacity Building. They also identify essential steps for using the power of cooperation and co-creation with partners in order to reach the impact they are striving for together. Read here. (Civic Europe, Snapshot of a regular afternoon in the Malter, Debrecen taken by Csaba Nyilas)

INSIDES FROM EENCE (Eastern European Network for Citizenship Education)

News from the Eastern European Network for Citizenship Education: EENCE Letter, May 2021
EENCE published another edition of the EENCE Newsletter in May. You can also find the latest information on the network, upcoming events and news from partners and EENCE itself on the website: https://eence.eu.


How to rebuild trust in society?
How to rebuild trust in society? An article on trust and leadership by Lucia Korcsogova, ELP Fellow, for the Jesuit European Social Centre, based on an interview with Louisa Slavkova – Executive Director at the Sofia Platform Foundation and program co-head at Civic Europe. Read here.

‘Dialogues on transition’ podcast series!
Check out the podcast series ‘Dialogues on transition’ - a series rethinking political and social transition in Central and Eastern Europe since 1989. The series is produced by the Center for Citizenship Education in Poland (Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej), partner of the Transition Dialogue network. In conversations with history and civic education experts and practitioners from Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine three ‘big themes’ are discussed: 1) teaching transition - why and how? 2) crime and punishment - what went wrong with transitional justice? 3) “winners and losers” of transition - who were they and why does it still matter? The episodes are available here. (Image: Transition Dialogue)

FollowTheVote: NECE talked to Carla Schneider-Dahm from the Political Innovation Association, about their start-up FollowTheVote for reshaping access to political information:

NECE: Why did you found the Political Innovation Association?

Carla Schneider-Dahm: We at PIA e.V. believe that a healthy democracy can only be further developed by a generation that is capable of making decisions and has a desire to participate. That is why a group of young Europeans came together with the goal to reinvent the way we inform ourselves…read more.

NECE: How much do you think younger generations are influenced by the spread of fake news and how much does it affect political decisions?

Carla Schneider-Dahm: Increasing populism, growing attention to conspiracy theories and most recently the storming of the US Congress are symptoms of a new form of media that is fundamentally changing the way we are exposed to information. Negative effects are especially felt by…read more.

NECE: With FollowTheVote you want to convey political knowledge to young citizens in an exciting and interactive way. What method makes your App unique?

Carla Schneider-Dahm: From the beginning, FollowTheVote was built to serve young users. One of the main issues the target group is facing is the amount of time that they need to inform themselves about politics. Therefore, FollowTheVote is designed to let you become a political expert in less than 5 min a day. Read more.

NECE: How is the offer being accepted and what reactions have you received from your target group so far?

Carla Schneider-Dahm: We recently completed our prototype testing with around 80 test users. Our app will be available in the App Store in August, to prepare young German citizens for the upcoming election. Based on the prototype testing and our extensive market research we confirmed that…read more.

The European Commission launched a public consultation to promote and uphold EU values in digital space
In addition to the Communication on Europe‘s Digital Decade on 9 March, the Commission has launched a public consultation. The aim is to stimulate a broad societal debate and to gather the views of EU citizens on the formulation of principles to promote and uphold EU values. Find out more. (Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)


In Europe Schools: Are you struggling with keeping students motivated and engaged in the classroom?
Let them investigate, film and tell their own current (hi)story! Climate Change, Gender Equality, Migration, as well as Difficult History, are the histories and challenges all of us are faced with today. Make the new school year a not-to-be-missed opportunity for students to learn that we are history - and to (virtually) meet other European students! You can get inspiration from the latest documentaries on our YouTube Channel, but let your students’ creativity speak! You can join the In Europe Schools project by filling in this form. For any questions, please contact us at eugenie@euroclio.eu


Compendium of inspiring practices on inclusive and citizenship education
To improve the inclusiveness of education and training systems in the EU, the ET 2020 Working Group has compiled inspiring practices on shared values and inclusive education in the period 2016 to 2020. The compendium aims to bring ideas and inspiration to policy makers and stakeholders in civic education and to highlight the importance and added value of inclusive education. Read more.


Education for a democratic Europe: NECE talked to Anna Mauz and Felix Lorenzen, programme managers at Stiftung Lernen durch Engagement, about their work and its importance to strengthen citizenship education:.

NECE: What is the unique selling point of the new project “Education for a democratic Europe” within the landscape of European programmes for Education for Europe?

Felix Lorenzen: We do not know yet whether we’ll have a unique selling point. What is certain, though, is that we base our project on concepts of experience-based learning, especially the concept of service learning. It is our firm conviction that youngsters deserve…read more.

NECE: How and with which educational projects do you advocate for a democratic Europe?

Anna Mauz: It’s our role to empower students, teachers and schools to implement their own projects. We inspire and support them – with innovative workshops, with hands-on material for the classroom and with connecting them to other teachers and students in Germany and Europe. Of course, this role is important, but students and teachers – often together with civil society organizations – have the key role. Read more.

NECE: Why is it so important to lastingly anchor such models or projects in the educational landscape and how can this be successfully implemented?

Felix Lorenzen: There’s a lot of empirical evidence about the impact of service learning and experience-based learning. We are happy that more and more actors, for example the Council of Europe with its Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture, embrace these approaches.

Anna Mauz: In other projects, we have established lasting cooperation with departments of education and school authorities which foster experience-based learning methods. Given this experience, we are confident…read more.

  Apply now for the Youth Democracy Award 2021 // Up to 3,000 € prize money for an innovative, courageous project by young people between 14 and 27 years // The COVID crisis allows us to observe how physical distance also becomes social distance. But maybe you see it differently: Are you exploring new paths together with others, and are you  - literally - United In Distance? Then apply for the Youth Democracy Award 2021! Joint solutions to cross-border challenges are needed more than ever. You can win up to 3.000 €! Under this year’s theme, the Federal Agency of Civic Education wants to support youth projects from Europe that have put something together in the spirit of diversity and community. Applications must be received by 15 July. More information and application here: www.bpb.de/youthdemocracyaward
  New NGO founded to promote citizenship education in Europe: THE CIVICS Innovation Hub
THE CIVICS Innovation Hub is a pan-European non-profit organisation, founded in February 2021. Its mission is to strengthen the democratic competence, self-efficacy, and resilience of citizens across Europe in a bottom-up manner. THE CIVICS supports both citizens and civic educators to deal with major challenges of our time, such as threats to democracy, causes and effects of climate change or social divides. The first out of four major programmes is mapping the stakeholders of citizenship education throughout Europe. THE CIVICS identifies who they are, both in formal and non-formal citizenship education, describing which topics and groups of society they are focusing on, looks into whether and how they collaborate and finally, seeks to analyse what they need in order to create innovative and strong responses to the challenges faced by the citizens of Europe. The plan is to cover up to 19 countries by the end of 2022. The mapping programme is supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Read more.

Please note: Any links provided are for information and discussion only. The views expressed are not necessarily shared by NECE as a networking platform.

  WANTED: Your Contribution to the NECE Newsletter!  
  Are you involved in citizenship education in Europe or North Africa? Are you running projects aimed at promoting democratic values and tolerance in your country or region? Do you think NECE (and the readers of this Newsletter) should know about your project and do you want to enlist their support/advice? We’d love to hear from you! Send your contributions, ideas, comments, and questions to: nece-newsletter@labconcepts.de or share your stories and projects via Social Media using our Hashtag #digitalNECE.  

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The NECE Newsletter is published regularly and distributed via e-mail. The NECE Newsletter is published regularly and distributed via e-mail. It is available to anyone on www.bpb.de/veranstaltungen/netzwerke/nece/. The newsletter is published by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education), which is responsible for its content according to definitions laid down by the German Telemedia Act.

Further contact information:
Federal Agency for Civic Education
Adenauerallee 86
53113 Bonn (Germany)

Responsible for the content:
Petra Grüne

Editorial support:
Sabrina Räpple & Susanne Pöschko

If you have any questions please e-mail to: nece-newsletter@labconcepts.de